The holiday season is upon us, and the question that I ask this month is, are you—more specifically your feet—ready for it?
Strange question? The holiday season starts just before Thanksgiving and goes through the first of the year. During this time, most of us are on our feet more, shopping, standing in lines, standing at parties, watching events like the parade, or going to the zoo and seeing the lights. We are on our feet a lot. If we don’t make sure we are taking care of our feet during this time, it may not be a festive holiday season.
Two big injuries or flare ups that we see during this time of year are Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the largest in the body. The tendon connects the calf muscles in the back of your leg to the heel bone. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include aching above the heel or in the back of the leg down by the calf. You may experience more pain after climbing stairs, and the pain may also be worse in the morning.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick, fibrous band of tissue that reaches from the heel to the toes, supporting the muscles and arch of the foot. “Plantar” refers to the bottom of the foot; “fascia” is supportive tissue. When the plantar fascia becomes overly stretched, tiny tears can riddle its surface. The band of fascia can become inflamed and become quite painful.
The following risk factors may contribute to both injuries:
- Being overweight
- Taking up a new form of exercise or increasing exercise
- Standing on your feet for several hours a day
- Having other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- Wearing high-heeled shoes and then switching abruptly to flat shoes
- Wearing shoes that are worn out with weak arch supports and thin soles
- Having flat feet or an unusually high arch
- Having legs of uneven lengths or an abnormal walk or foot position
- Having tight Achilles tendons or “heel cords.”
Treatment options include rest; ice; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); arch supports, orthotics, and better shoes; physical therapy including Soft Tissue Mobilization Technique; and Kinesio Taping.
I’ve covered a therapy concern; now I’ll cover a wellness concern. November and December are the months in which we typically have more events to plan or attend and we feel more stress and fatigue. What can we do to make the holiday season a little healthier and more fun with friends and family rather than a time of stress?
According to the website www.acqyr.com, here are some tips to reduce holiday stress:
Do what you can—This is not the season of excess. At least it should not be. Having too much on your plate, whether literally or figuratively, can overwhelm. Be aware of the commitments you make for yourself and your schedule. Don’t overbook yourself or stretch yourself too thin.
Count your blessings—This is the season to celebrate. What do you have to celebrate? More than you think! Concentrate on what you do have, not what you wish you could have.
Expect the time crunch, not perfection—This is the season of the time crunch. With so much expected of you—family, work, social events, and more—it’s just not possible to meet every demand. Unreasonable expectations will lead to great disappointments. Manage what you can with the time you have. There’s no use in stressing yourself out.
Beat the procrastination bug—This is the season of much to do. Your mind may drift onto your long to-do list, but don’t let that distract you from the task at hand. Get everything out of your head and onto paper. Once you do, stop worrying. Trust that things will get done in time.
Beat the shopping rush—This is the season of busy malls and parking lots with long lineups and stress filling the air. Avoid the hustle and bustle by planning ahead, ordering online, or making personalized gifts. Don’t let the stress of others rub off on you.
Let go—This is not the season of conflict. Trying to win small battles may cost you health, happiness, and peace of mind. Grudges, arguments, and fights waste energy and magnify stress. Instead, let go and seek peace in your heart.
Eat, sleep, and be merry—This is the season to be healthy. Bring good tidings to your body, mind, and stomach by managing your diet and sleep. Good health starts with healthy food and quality rest. Otherwise you’ll feel bloated, tired, or cranky, and that just might rub off on others.
Be jolly—This is the season to be jolly! Don’t perpetuate anxiety, or fear. Instead, spread joy and happiness. Embrace each moment—good or bad— with a smile. Live, love, and laugh! All else will fall into place!
“Heartland Rehabilitation Services…Therapy for Today, Wellness for Life!” ❦